Commentary

On Tech Bubbles And Netflix Binges

The first time the bubble burst, there was a certain amount of “I-told-you-so” action going on. And when the great unraveling of the boom happened, we all knew people who were bruised and battered, and seemed kind of foolish.

And later, we were introspective.

The media loved this new Internet thing because it was all about information. We couldn’t get enough of it, and our copy reflected that enthusiasm. Why didn’t we see our own narrow self-interest?

The current Internet boom is probably not-irrational exuberance; it’s the real thing. Now there’s more to it--video, for fat example, and smartphones, for another, and Google and YouTube and Facebook. It's really possible to see how life and communication is going to be bent in new ways for this part of the 21st Century.

And yet, there are doubts, too. Venture capitalists may be too adventurous.

“A few years ago,” The New York Times reports, “private companies that were worth more than $1 billion were rare enough than venture capitalists called them ‘unicorns.' ” Now, it says, there are 107 of them.

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Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, speaking at a Re/Codeconference about his company’s IPO, which he thinks will happen someday, nonetheless admitted: “I think there will be a correction.” And he said, when it happens, he’ll make a boatload of money. I don’t doubt it.

Snapchat from the get-go seemed gifted somehow. Spiegel famously turned down an all-cash offer of $3 billion from Facebook at a time that Snapchat was, in the big scheme of things, virtually unknown, except to eager VCs and horny teenagers

THE THRILL IS GONE: Speaking of overheated, apparently at least some content creators are getting a little misty for the days when viewers had to wait a week or so to get new episodes, and everybody watching was following the same schedule. The Hollywood Reporter discloses that “Orange Is The New Black” creator Jenji Kohan now says, “I do miss having people on the same page,” week by week.

That echoes comments from “Mad Men” famed creator Matthew Weiner, who says if he were to do a series for Netflix (I’m just sayin’) he would like the episode to be, well, episodic, “so at least there was just some shared experience.”   

Netflix itself has made it clear it is quite happy with the binge thing, thank you very much. I’m sure if it ever came down to it, Weiner could argue he was horribly misquoted. 

The binge aspect of Netflix has become kind of its overriding claim-to-fame, as much a how-to-watch Netflix signature as a lime in a bottle of Corona is for that beer brand. That makes it one of the more unlikely popular trends and marketing successes, it seems to me.

Not too long ago, people watching 12 hours of TV at one time were called couch potatoes, and it was not at all a term of endearment. They were pitied. Why does, "All he does is watch TV" now seem oK if it's "House of Cards"?


pj@mediapost.com

1 comment about "On Tech Bubbles And Netflix Binges".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, May 27, 2015 at 12:05 p.m.

    Is it a Tech Buuble or Mobile App bubble? How many of the 107 are Mobile Apps? 

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